Ah the Metaverse. It's a word which has been drained of much of its meaning being thrown around and corporatized to death - we're looking at you Zuck! But that doesn't mean genuine Metaverse gaming worlds aren't out there.
Here are seven of the best metaverses you can jump into today!
1. Second Life
Perhaps the oldest gaming Metaverse out there, Second Life was released in 2003 and has been populated ever since.
When you load up Second Life, you'll craft an avatar and begin your, well, second life in the digital world. Here you'll meet plenty of interesting people, from peers to developers to artists. You'll also have the opportunity to develop your own worlds and visit worlds others have created.
Being a sandbox, the opportunities are incredibly varied on Second Life.
One of the greatest draws for many players, though, is the virtual marketplace where you can buy, stell and trade virtual items - including ones you have made. This can result in you even earning a few bucks selling your creations!
Initially released in 2006, Roblox has developed and innovated over the years making it as relevant as ever today. In 2020, Roblox had over 164 million monthly active users, a testament to how the game has managed to stay at the forefront of gaming over the years.
As it's free to jump in, the best way to understand what Roblox is would be to simply give it a shot. That's because Roblox can be almost anything you make of it.
You'll create and control your own Lego-style avatar, who you'll be able to take through the library of over half a million games that are on offer.
Roblox is also special, as it allows you to develop and monetise your own games in-app. Something which many players enjoy. This uses an in-game currency called Robux, which you can purchase here!
It may have started out as a Battle Royale, but Epic Games have been firm in insisting that Fortnite is in fact a Metaverse Game. This is because the game is slowly incorporating more and more metaverse-style events, such as those by musicians Travis Scott and Marshmello.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney is also clearly interested in incorporating more metaverse features into Fortnite in the coming years!
As its name suggests, you'll need a VR headset to gain access to VRChat. But if you have one, then you're about to discover the most vibrant and varied metaverse there is out there.
Initially released back in 2014, VRChat is a community based Metaverse which hosts a huge number of "worlds" offering up a variety of different purposes. Whether you're looking to play something, meet new people or socialise with some old friends in full-body, VR chat is a great place.
What's more, with endless possibilities of avatars - whacky or realistic - and the opportunity for players to create any world they like, the possibilities are virtually limitless in VRChat
5. Rec Room
Like VRChat, but a little more user-friendly, Rec Room provides VR players with plenty of places to socialise and play pretty extensive games either with friends or randoms. While there are a variety of games offered up by the developers themselves, the joy of Rec Room comes from much of the community content.
While Rec Room is best played in VR, it's not mandatory with PC and mobile versions also available - all with cross-play!
Hosted in browser, Decentraland is perhaps the fastest metaverse you can get into right now. The application leverages blockchain technology through digital land parcels and the game's central cryptocurrency - MANA.
Many major brands - such as Atari, Adidas and Sotheby's - have bought properties in Decentraland, making it one of the highest profiles metaverses out there.
On land parcels, users are able to develop and host whatever they like - from concerts to virtual shops to games.
However, it's worth noting that many players lament the game's brutally long load times. It also relies on some cryptocurrency literacy, making it unsuitable for children.
7. The Sandbox
Mix Minecraft and Decentraland and you'd more-or-less get The Sandbox. It's a sandbox metaverse platform which allows players to buy land parcels and build whatever they want on it, using simple voxel-based tools - a model editor called VoxEdit and the Sandbox Game Maker to actually create experiences. Being more accessible, The Sandbox offers a great opportunity for designers and artists to craft experiences which they could monetise in the future.
To date, The Sandbox has also partnered with some of the world's biggest brands - from The Walking Dead to Atari and Adidas.
Given its basis in the world of cryptocurrency, The Sandbox isn't suitable for kids.